The Lightning Network has officially been declared ready for mainnet usage as Lightning Labs has released the first beta version of the open-source development team’s much-anticipated software.
Lightning Network Software Receives Beta Release
The San Francisco-based Lightning Labs announced Thursday that it had released lnd 0.4-beta, the fourth major release of the software and the first to be tagged as a beta release.
This is a watershed moment for Bitcoin development, as it introduces the ability to begin to move everyday Bitcoin payments off the main blockchain and into the Lightning Network, which exists as a second-layer technology on top of Bitcoin and allows users to make payments instantly at almost no cost.
As Lightning Labs CEO Elizabeth Stark explained in an interview with CNBC:
“If bitcoin is like a decentralized savings account, Lightning is a decentralized checking account where users can send money instantly.”
Lightning Network proponents also believe that, once this technology is integrated into other cryptocurrency networks, LN users will be able to more easily make cross-blockchain trades — dubbed “atomic swaps” — an important step in the development of decentralized exchanges (DEX).
Lightning Network Speeds Toward Adoption
But though lnd 0.4-beta is the first LN implementation tagged as ready for mainnet usage, enthusiastic supporters had already begun using LN software.
As CCN reported, the Lightning Network has more than 1,000 active nodes, though the network capacity is currently only about 4.5 BTC.
Lightning Labs encouraged users to continue to avoid putting too much money into LN payment channels in the near-term, as the software may still contain bugs that could result in lost funds.
“#Craefulgang,” the developers wrote, citing HBO host John Oliver’s satirical segment on cryptocurrency investing that aired last Sunday.
Also on Thursday, Lightning Labs announced that it had concluded a $2.5 million seed financing round from a group of high-profile Silicon Valley investors that included Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square and Twitter, as well as Robinhood co-founder Vlad Tenev and former PayPal COO David Sacks.